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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 842656

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NX46NW 223 4336 6500 to 4055 6500. RR 8.

Formerly RX 23.

The Roman road from Glenlochar (NX76SW 2) to Loch Ryan via Gatehouse of Fleet is thought to follow the same track as the Old Military Road, which runs from the Bridge of Sark to Portpatrick (MR 23, see NX46NW 106).

Across the Palnure (NX 4609 6525. see xx), Rickson, who was responsible for building the Old Military Road, wished to avoid but was forced to use the Path, one of the oldest roads in Galloway, through Blackcraig (NX 444 646, see xx), Heronscroft (NX 4334 6505) and Kirroughtree (NX 423 655).

At this point the Old Military Road changed alignment (at NX 4168 6587) to cross the Cree though Anderson (1967) considers the Path probably continued along the E bank of the Cree to the Bridge of Minnoch (NX37NE 6).

The ancient crossing of the Cree was at Machermore Ford (NX 413 651) marking the junction of 2 ancient roads, the coastal road from Dumfries and the mid Galloway trunk road referred to as the 'Old Edinburgh Road'. There is a very substantial agger approaching the ford by the by-pass bridge. Only a short stretch survives before destruction by the by-pass through an early map shows the agger continuing. This agger could be joined by an ancient steep descent from the Path at Heronscroft (NX 438 649). It is on these plains that earlier antiquaries cited a battle involving the Romans and Sir John Clerk on his visit in 1721 referred to 'a proper place for an encampment'. Extensive fieldwork in land around the ford and Machermore Castle (NX46SW 25) has failed to produce a Roman site. A possible site could be under the present Machermore Castle. At the back of the castle is a well which I am assured was identified as Roman by engineers from Strathclyde University c.25 years ago (NX 417 645). Roman finds have been claimed in this area, though it is unlikely that any of these constitute evidence for Roman occupation. Across the Cree a more interesting validated Roman find is an as of Trajan found in now substantially tarmacadamed garden of Douglas House (NX46NW 23), situated on the 50 foot contour on the W bank of the Cree (Robertson 1949-50). Below this site there are substantial remains of a bridge with squared blocks of stone with dowel and cramp marks. These are presumably the remains of the bridge built between 1745 and 1748. A Roman crossing could have occurred at the site of the present bridge from Minnigaff (NX 4100 6643) but is more likely at the Machermore ford and would be a suitable crossing point for a Roman line to the W following the Old Military Road. If a Roman site was not located at this point of the Cree, then a site further downstream on the higher ground near the ancient crossing of the Palnure Burn at its junction with the Cree should be sought near NX 458 644.

A Wilson 1989; A S Robertson 1949-50; A D Anderson 1967.

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